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Over 2,700 firearms collected in Toronto gun buyback

Last Updated May 18, 2019 at 8:23 am EST

One of the 2,700 guns handed into police to be destroyed during the Toronto police's gun buyback program. TWITTER/@InspMac

Toronto police say they have collected more than 2,700 unwanted guns from residents through their buyback program.

The three-week program offered people $200 for a long gun and $350 for a handgun.

Police added it was the largest number of firearms collected through a gun buyback program in Toronto, with over 1,900 long guns handed in and over 800 handguns.

The guns will be inspected to determine if they’ve been used in a crime, and people who hand them over to police will not face a charge for possessing or unsafely storing a firearm. All of the firearms will then be destroyed.

The last buyback program occurred in 2008 when over 2,000 guns were turned in.

At the beginning of the buyback, a Toronto police inspector faced some lighthearted ridicule on social media for the age of some of the guns turned in so far.

While the guns may be old and the tweet attracted a large response, Insp. Paul MacIntyre replied saying it is still a positive step forward that they are no longer in people’s homes.

Chief mark Saunders said he was pleased with the amount of Torontonians who participated.

“These guns can present a potential danger if they fall into the wrong hands,” said Chief Saunders. “Removing access to these guns, many of which are not securely stored, contributes to community safety.”

The city funded the program with unanimous approval.

Mayor John Tory said, “Every gun surrendered is one less gun in our community and one less gun potentially available to people who want to cause problems in our city.”

Toronto recorded a record number of homicides last year, along with a major surge in gun-related crimes that saw police seize an unusually high number of handguns from city streets.

Saunders said in December that officers had recovered more than 500 handguns – or 222 more than in 2017 – and the number of homicides caused by shootings had gone up by nearly 30 per cent.